by Armando Lee
AstroCamp Observatory Service , SMBY , SM MOA

Last  June 26, 2010, the ALP team stationed at Astrocamp Observatory set up their telescopes at 6pm inside the grounds of Astocamp Observatory in SMBY Park, SM Mall of Asia Complex in Pasay City. They were Kevin Dagunan, Crispin Riosa, Mark Singson, Michael Cruspero and Dr Armando Lee. With them were the MS Astronomy students of RTU namely; Jimdel Macapagal and Pee Jay Lim. Present also were; Victor Espartero of Astrocamp Observatory and a guest friend of PeeJay named Jovan Aboga-a. The group was already at the site at around 6pm but since the Eastern sky was heavily clouded out, they first observed the planets Venus, Mars and Saturn as they wait for the Moon to show up behind the clouds. Dr Lee and Michael Cruspero set up the Apex 127 Maksutov on an ASGT mount and used a Canon EOS 350D at prime focus. Dr Lee also set up his Celestron C90 on a photo tripod and instructed Jimdel Macapagal on how to take prime focus images with his Canon EOS450D. Kevin Dagunan helped out Jimdel in setting up his camera and adjusting the tripod in a way to avoid the glare from the big bright lamp post in SMBY Park. The team was all set and ready by the time the Moon has already entered the maximum phase of the partiality coverage which is at 7:38pm local time.

7:52 PM PST

8:43 PM PST

8:58 PM PST

9:43 PM PST

Unfortunately, the time for the maximum cover of the partial eclipse came and the clouds remained at the Eastern sky. It was not only until 13 minutes after the maximum did the group saw a glimpse of the Moon though breaks in the clouds as drizzle of rain fell on the site. Umbrellas were deployed as the group tried to shoot with their telescopes and cameras. Then after a few minutes the Moon disappeared behind clouds again. This happened several times but the group did not lose hope and stayed fixed in their stations as they patiently waited for the breaks in the clouds. They were able to catch several images of the partial lunar eclipse from 7:53pm to 9:00pm but gave up before the egress of the penumbral phase because of thick clouds. They noticed and observed that some 15mins after the end of the egress  of the penumbral phase, the sky turned clear with very minimal clouds! Just right after the eclipse the sky turned good! Such was the experience this event brought to the members of ALP and RTU MS Astronomy. Patience is indeed a virtue indispensable in astronomy but still THE SKY (condition) IS THE LIMIT!


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